Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Personal best

Over 110 Metropolitan Masters swimmers travelled to Harvard University's Blodgett Pool to participate in the New England Master's Short Course Championships this past weekend. A small group of us from Team New York Aquatics attended and swam our little hearts out. I was thoroughly inspired watching the seasoned swimmers at the competition, especially those in age groups 80-84 and over. Just before the start of Women's 100 IM, the host presented an honorary award to a 90-year-old swimmer from Connecticut. The man sets personal bests every day he's in the water. I was so moved by his gracious acceptance speech that my eyes welled and goggles fogged when I stepped up to the blocks.

This morning, Coach Lisa gave us a stellar main set:
400 Free, 4 x 100 IMs
300 Free, 3 x 100 Back
200 Free, 2 x 100 Breast
100 Free, 1 x 100 Fly
For some of us, the 3 x 100 backstroke was a continuous swim.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Oh happy day

Friday, March 23rd marked the unveiling of The New York Public Library's 51st annual publication of Books to Remember. It was a rare treat listening to seven of the Library's finest discussing the 25 books that they've discovered (after a year-long quest) to be the most compelling, thought-provoking and memorable of reads. The morning was a pure and absolute celebration of books, authors, reading and (I must add) librarianship. And I felt privileged to participate in the special occasion and honored to meet such extraordinarily talented writers as Rachel Sherman, Rich Cohen and Martha Collins.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


A modern event

With the publication of her fifth volume of poetry, Martha Collins is at the top of her game. Blue Front tells the haunting story of a witnessed crime and proffers a potent view of race relations. In a voice bold and matter-of-fact, she writes:

There were trees on those streets that were named
for trees: Sycamore, Cedar, Poplar, Pine,
Elm, where the woman's body was found,
where the man's body was taken and burned--

There must have been trees, there were trees
on Seventh Street, in front of the house that stands
in the picture behind the carriage that holds
the boy's mother, the boy's cousin, the boy--

And of course there were trees on Washington
Avenue, wide boulevard lines with exotic
gingkoes, stately magnolias, there were trees
on that street that are still on that street,

trees that shaded the fenced-in yards of the large
Victorian houses, the mansion built by the man
who sold flour to Grant for the Union troops,
trees that were known to the crowd that saw

the victim hanged, though not on a tree, this
was not the country, they used a steel arch
with electric lights, and later a lamppost, this
was a modern event, the trees were not involved.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


The hills are alive with the sound of salsa

bag pipes and steel drums. I just returned from a fun 5k run with Melissa in Washington Heights. Race participants were treated to an open air concert along the route. Despite the humbling hills, hundreds of runners seemed to enjoy this extraordinary morning filled with sunshine and song. Picture a beaming Julie Andrews on top of the impressive Untersberg mountain. "The hills fill my heart with the sound of music. My heart wants to sing every song it hears."

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Five gentlemen and a lady

Averaging six swimmers per lane, this morning's practice at City College was a full house. The head coach gave us a rigorous, highly structured workout which included: 8 x 50 rolling IMs; 400/300/200 pulls; 300/200/100 IMs; and a series of IM kick sets. Being the slowest kid on the block, I planted myself squarely at the back of the pack and tried (with mixed success) to keep apace with the boyz. Lucky for me, I swam with five chaps who were gentlemen of the highest order. Considerate, well-mannered and good-natured, these swimmers' smiles buoyed me through the most challenging sets. And with ten minutes left, Alfred's encouraging shout out ("You're doing good!") positively sustained me the final 600 yards. How generous!

Friday, March 02, 2007


State of preparedness

In a profile of Wynton Marsalis, Touré describes the distinguished musician pondering his next move:
I really don't know what I'm gonna do, he sa[ys]. I'm gonna do something, though. I gotta do something to express all this gratitude. Man, you start sittin around, then the ideas stop comin to you. When you're workin the spirit understands that you are serious and you are preparing yourself to receive that information. Stay in the state of preparedness. Coltrane said that. You got to stay in the state of preparedness all the time.
Our coaches have been preparing us for the upcoming swim meet in Nassau County Aquatic Center. On Tuesday, the coach had us practice dive starts and emphasized the importance of being comfortable standing right on the edge. Initially, we jumped off the blocks feet first like penguins advancing into Antarctic waters. Later, we bent down, shifted our weight and tried driving forward. Although hardly fearless, one by one like Adelie, Chinstrap, Gentoo and Emperor, we persisted and experimented, diving, paddling and slowly waddling our way back to the start.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?